‘We fear for the safety of the public in Lancashire and there will be a reduction in the level of service the police can provide’, that is the stark warning from the head of the Lancashire police federation, Rachel Baines.
The trouble is, few people appear to take any notice of the Fed anymore and regard comments like that as simply scare mongering.
Recently, Steve White the national chairman of the Fed has been involved in yet another unsightly spat with Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary, Sir Tom Winsor. He called Winsor’s comments that the police need to work smarter as ‘disgustingly offensive’.
Winsor emerged the winner, yet again, by setting out a calm and articulate written response, which included calling White’s comments regrettably intemperate and wholly misconceived. Unfortunately, the comments made by the federation both locally and nationally are accurate, but the manner in which they attempt to get their points across is failing to garner support from the public and, in many cases, their own members.
I think they should change their approach and be more aggressive in getting the Home Secretary, HMIC and ACPO to explain the specific details relating to comments they have made about the future of policing. The HMIC has said the police should concentrate on the more serious crimes, inferring minor crimes like shoplifting and damage should be dealt with in some other unexplained way.
The Chief Constable of Surrey, Lynne Owens, is saying police are too busy to deal with missing from homes, drunks and violent patients in A&E. The Home Secretary considers the police to be just crime fighters and seems to completely ignore the other wide-ranging issues our police service is required to deal with on a daily basis.
These people should be made to provide a detailed explanation of what they mean. Directing the police to work smarter in real terms means the police no longer deal with certain matters. The public should be told what those matters are and who will deal with themin the future. These people appear to be living in ivory towers, far away from the realities of day-to-day operational policing.
Is a situation developing where members of the public are going to contact the police for assistance and be increasingly told… the police don’t deal with that anymore, sort it out yourself!